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Ask an Expert In Print

Ask the Expert: Richard Earney


This month we spoke with Richard Earney, the national program director at Midtown Athletic Clubs about recovery tools.

Why do you think recovery is now a trending offering in the fitness industry?

RE: Recovery is a hot topic at the moment. There are a myriad of recovery tools and toys on the market. Stretching boutiques are opening up all over the place (check out StretchLab, StretchZone, or Stretch*d, for example). People are not only looking for something to balance out all the HIIT programming, but overall, people just want to move and feel better. 

What are some examples of ways Midtown is incorporating this trend?

RE: Midtown has two really exciting programs: Stretch RX, which is personal training revenue-based; and ReGen, which is included on the group programming schedule. 

StretchRX includes 30 minutes of targeted recovery work, tailored to your needs by a “Recovery Coach,” and incorporating various recovery tools and toys on a massage table. We’ve developed a pathway for coaches and massage therapists to become recovery coaches, taking more branded and structured programming to the fitness floor. 

The other is ReGen. We’ve taken recovery programming to the next level and created an experience to match. ReGen promotes recovery, relieves tightness and improves posture through dynamic stretching, and targeted triggerpoint and myofascial release techniques. Imagine 60 minutes of release work in a dimly lit, warm yoga studio set to instrumental jazz. You literally feel more mobile. 

What are tips for creating a true “recovery” space in a health club?

RE: In general, clubs do not dedicate enough stretching space, let alone dedicated recovery zones. First and foremost, ensure you have stretching space. When planning layouts, most clubs make these spaces too small. Think about location and transitions, perhaps between the fitness floor and studios. If you are going to convert these areas into recovery zones, think about the tools and toys, and their storage — things can easily get messy in this area. Consider placement of specialized equipment, such as power plates and NormaTec boots, which will need a reservation system and someone on hand to help set the members up.

Do you feel the recovery trend has staying power?

RE: Absolutely. Alongside the growing wellness sector, there is much more awareness around the importance of recovery. Ultimately, people want to feel and perform better in sport and everyday life. Recovery in the past was often viewed as an afterthought. I see it shifting toward being part of one’s training schedule with the concept of active recovery sessions. Watch out for more boutique recovery-based studios popping up. 

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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